Can Chickens Eat Watercress?

Chickens make popular pets considering that these creatures are relatively sturdy animals; they love to forage thus, arrange for their snacks, and are very low-maintenance pets.

But, the world over, chicken owners worry for the well-being of their flock and often ponder over the food sources they can provide to their pets to increase their longevity and enhance their health.

Avian experts recommend feeding chickens commercially formulated chicken feed containing all of the nutrients your fowl will need daily.

But, you are also advised to add to the meal nutrient-rich vegetables and fruits that invariably work towards making your pet fit. 

So, apart from the usual vegetables, you will often find chicken owners wondering if it’s safe to feed chickens watercress.

Well, wonder no more.

Watercress makes for a very nutritional snack for your chickens.

But, you cannot make watercress a part of your chicken’s daily diet.

Let’s discuss the matter further and understand how feeding watercress to your pet can benefit your feathered friends in the long run.

Is Watercress Safe For Chickens?

Belonging to the mustard plant family, the watercress is an aquatic vegetable found across the globe from Europe to Asia.

It’s well known for its zippy flavor, and as it is so commonly available, it is used in various dishes, everything from soup to stew. 

Watercress is rich in minerals, vitamins, and antioxidants.

It is a detoxifying herb full of vitamin A, B1, B2, C, E, iodine, phosphorus, and iron.

It is safe for your chickens as it is safe for human consumption.

Watercress is packed with vitamin C, which improves the immune system.

It contains beta carotene and other carotenoids, which significantly reduce oxidative stress, fight off free radicals, and battle cancer. 

Also, watercress is loaded with calcium which is particularly necessary for most chickens.

You see, calcium is imperative for bone health in chickens.

But, it is vital for egg-laying chickens and, it is just as crucial for chicks during the growth stage as calcium is required for cardiac, nervous, circulatory, and digestive systems. 

How To Feed Watercress To Chickens?

Now, you have to understand that watercress isn’t toxic for chickens in any way.

But, too much of a good thing can be bad too.

You see, watercress contains calcium, iron, and phosphorus, and all of these minerals in excess can affect your chickens adversely.

Too much calcium will increase bone ash and affect bone growth in chicks.

Excessive phosphorus, iron, and calcium can invariably cause egg binding rather than prevent it. 

So, as a pet parent to a flock of chickens, you need to practice much caution.

Firstly, watercress should not be served as a meal but as a treat that you can offer to your fowl once every two or three weeks.

You also need to ensure that the watercress you present to your birdies is free of toxins, chemicals, or pesticides.

The best option available for many chicken owners is to buy organically grown watercress and rinse the vegetable several times before offering it to your flock of chickens.

If it is the first time you are making your birds try watercress, then mixing a meager amount in their feed will help your flock develop a taste for the vegetable.

Can Chickens Eat Watercress, Spinach, Aand Rocket?

As mentioned earlier, chickens can eat watercress but not too much and too often.

Spinach is a leafy green vegetable that is full of nutrients as well.

However, spinach also contains oxalic acid. Oxalic acid works to diminish the absorption of calcium in the body.

And a lack of calcium in your chicken can mean reduced bone health and poor eggshell quality. 

Rocket is a leafy vegetable that is nutrient-rich.

Yet, it is also a vegetable that should only be given to chickens in small measure. 

What Greens Can Chickens Not Eat?

There are very few things in its environment that a chicken will avoid.

But, there are some food sources that you should be particularly careful not to have anywhere close to your chickens as the consumption of these things are toxic for your flightless bird and result in death.

Here’s a list of these greens:

Green potatoes and tomatoes 

The toxins found in green potatoes and green tomatoes are solanine and chaconine.

It can be found in these vegetables’ peels, stems, roots, and leaves.

Cooking does not alter the effect of the toxins present in these vegetables.

So be very cautious not to have green potatoes or tomatoes around your chicken coop.


Also known as a super green, the avocado is full of vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants.

It contains persin, a compound that is toxic for most animals, including chickens.


It is a vegetable considered to be quite delicious and healthy for humans.

But eggplant also contains solanine; hence, it is toxic for chickens.

Onions, Chives, and Garlic 

The sulfoxides and sulfides present in onion, chives, and garlic, particularly a compound of N-propyl disulfide, found in onions, are toxic enough to kill a dog immediately.

These sulfides present in this vegetable works to destroy the red blood cells present in the body of cats, dogs, and most other animals.

No specific studies show clearly that onions are toxic for chickens, but many chicken owners prefer not to take the chance.

Wrapping Up

Trying out new food sources, especially wholesome and nutritious vegetables with your chickens, is a good idea.

It is far better to do some form of research or ask your avian vet about a particular vegetable before you incorporate it into your pet’s meal.

Yes, watercress is a non-toxic vegetable for chickens, and it will provide your feather friends with many health benefits.

But you should be careful not to overdo it with watercress as that might give your beloved pets some serious tummy troubles.


We at write about bird health and diet however it should not be taken as medical advice. For advice on your bird you need to seek out an avian vet. The information you find on is for educational purposes only. At we are not liable for any information that you may find on here. Birdcageshere is NOT a substitute for professional medical advice about your bird.